Athletes Village-Whistler

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Stats:

Built: 2006

Capacity: 3,000+

Area: 36 hectares

Capabilities: serves the residents of and all the infrastructure within the new development known as Cheakamus Crossing, including the athlete residents of the Olympic and Paralympic Village, Whistler

LEED Certification Target: LEED-ND pilot project with the Canada Green Building Council to test the new LEED Neighbourhood Development green standard

Awards:

FCM CH2M Hill Sustainable Communities Award, 2009 (Cheakamus Crossing Legacy Neighbourhood)

Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards, 2009 (Whistler Athletes Village Low Temperature District Energy-Sharing System)

Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) Environment Award, 2009 (Low Temperature District Energy System)

Energy Action Award from the Community Energy Association, 2008 (Community Planning and Development Category for Whistler Athletes Village)

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Athletes Village-Whistler

The District Energy System (DES) is a community energy system that supplies space heat and heating for domestic hot water to the Olympic and Paralympic Village, Whistler and its associated infrastructure.

Challenge

Provide an alternative energy source to a permanent mixed-use neighbourhood of 2,850 residents with necessary infrastructure and recreational facilities.

Actions

To avoid building a temporary neighbourhood, as is often done for the Games, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) built an Athletes Village that could be easily adapted to a permanent resident neighbourhood.

An energy efficient neighbourhood, the Athletes Village (post Games to be called Cheakamus Crossing) earned the Powersmart Neighbourhood designation. Examples of the measures taken include fitting its residential units with efficient lighting, radiant floor heating, double pane vinyl windows and Energy Star appliances. All residential units are tested to achieve or exceed Energuide ratings of 80 or better, due mainly to the innovative district energy system.  A heat exchanger has been incorporated into the waste water treatment plant, removing heat from the effluent and distributing temperate water throughout the site to each of the homes. While there are back-up boilers, it is anticipated that the DES will be able to meet anywhere from 70%-90% of the neighbourhood’s thermal energy needs through effluent heat recovery alone.

In order to conserve water, dual flush toilets (light flush and normal flush settings) and low-flow faucets and shower heads were also installed. Landscaping made use of the native environment, from which high efficiency irrigation systems were constructed. All designed to protect and enhance the natural wetlands in the region, storm water rain gardens have been designed to detain rainwater run-off.

Effort has been made to improve the indoor air quality, through the use of low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paints and low VOC, formaldehyde-free glues in cabinetry and flooring. Many of the building materials were locally sourced and are made of recycled contents where possible (carpet, other flooring materials and concrete-fly ash). Engineered wood fabricated with lumber mill off-cuts and chips that would otherwise be waste materials are used, as was durable, non-combustible siding. All roofing materials have a 35+ year life expectancy.

Legacy

Post Games, the Village will become the Cheakamus Crossing Legacy Neighbourhood, comprised of 220 pre-purchased affordable resident housing units, 55 price-controlled rental units, a 55 unit travellers hostel, as well as 300 additional beds for both disabled and able-bodied athletes  associated with the High Performance Training Centre.

The development site was selected after an extensive public consultation program where local residents expressed concern over access to affordable accommodation and a desire for future projects to utilize existing developed land in the valley. Cheakamus Crossing has met both of these goals and models both environmental and social sustainable best practices.

The neighbourhood will be pedestrian oriented, providing easy access to amenities, a diverse mix of housing and countless indoor and outdoor recreation facilities. It will be well serviced by public transit an extensive commuter and recreational trail system as well as a car share program. The community wi ll also include commercial space for basic services, an athlete hostel, an International Hostel, and community recreation fields.

To provide a post-Games facility for the community of Whistler and Canadian athletes, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), in partnership with the RMOW also built the Whistler Athlete Centre –including the 19,000-square-foot High Performance Training Centre. Managed by the Whistler Legacies Society, the Whistler Athlete Centre includes three mixed-use buildings that will be used for training as well as housing and commercial spaces.

The High Performance Training Centre consists of a 4,000-square-foot strength and conditioning gym, a 5,400-square-foot gymnastics hall, recovery and change rooms, testing room, offices and a multi-purpose meeting room. There will also be a four-story athletes’ lodge as well as 20 townhome units that will provide a total of approximately 330 beds — ideal for accommodating both winter and summer athletes. Finally, post-Games, all temporary housing used during the Games will be relocated to several communities in British Columbia, creating a broader social legacy of affordable housing for the province.

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